Apartment REIT Aimco Sues Airbnb; Calls Guests ‘Trespassers’
By Dave Sorter | Thursday, February 23, 2017
Airbnb has faced numerous lawsuits from municipalities claiming the home-share service violates leasing laws. Now, the company is being taken to court by a major property owner.
Apartment Investment and Management Company (Aimco), a publicly traded apartment REIT, filed lawsuits in California and Florida this month seeking undisclosed monetary awards and court orders preventing Airbnb from listing units in Aimco properties, according to an Aimco news release.
Aimco operates more than 50,000 units, with concentrations in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, South Florida, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia.
“Short-term rental arrangements, whether through Airbnb or otherwise, are expressly prohibited by Aimco's lease agreements,” the news release stated. “Transient Airbnb clients have posed safety and quality-of-life concerns for Aimco's full-time residents.”
Aimco residents undergo background checks and credit-history reviews before they are accepted, and must sign a Good Neighbor Policy as part of their lease, the release said. On the other hand, the news release referred to temporary Airbnb guests as “trespassers, with unvetted personal histories, and no vested interest in maintaining a peaceful community atmosphere.” The release stated that Airbnb guests have engaged in public drunkenness and fighting, creating safety, noise and nuisance issues for permanent residents.
Aimco notified Airbnb in August, October and December 2016 that the listings appearing on the Airbnb platform represented lease violations, but Airbnb has continued to participate in illicit subletting of apartments, the news release said.
Airbnb will fight the lawsuit.
"This attack on the middle class by powerful interests is wholly without merit," Airbnb’s Nick Papas told the “Denver Business Journal.”
Count Aimco as one landlord that won’t sign up for Airbnb’s Friendly Building Program, which the Axiometrics blog featured in September. Some 42% of landlords said they wouldn’t consider signing up for the program, according to a National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) survey.
The program encourages apartment owners to sign up with Airbnb, set rules for home-sharing and, most importantly, take a piece of the revenue pie – about 5%-15% of the proceeds, according to an article in “Fortune” magazine.
Airbnb would also provide information about which residents are using Airbnb and who their guests are – though property managers would not receive information of who used the service before the agreement was signed.
Other Airbnb Issues
- The City of Chicago is about to implement a 4% tax on Airbnb and other home-sharing proceeds, though two lawsuits are pending to try to stop the tax. The hosts would be responsible for the tax. The city did, however, change a stipulation that hosts would have to provide the names and addresses of home-share guests. Now, a court order will be required to acquire that information.
- New York City fined two hosts for a combined 17 violations of a law that prevents people from sub-leasing apartments for less than 30 days if the hosts aren’t present. This was the first application of the fining capability, which went into effect this month. Airbnb had sued the city over the fining law, but withdrew the suit after learning that the hosts, not the company, would be assessed the fines.